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Five Fab Facts about Dogs

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1. Dog Diseases

Dogs are susceptible to many of the diseases which also affect humans. Around 6 million dogs contract cancer on an annual basis and many develop canine versions of less common human conditions. Illness is always sad but sharing the same diseases can benefit both dogs and man, because scientists can run clinical trials on pets that could help find a cure for all ills!

2. Dog Microchips

From 2016 it will be compulsory for all dogs in England to be microchipped. A dog microchip is the size of a small grain of rice and is coated in a soda lime substance that helps it knit to the dog’s flesh. It’s inserted with a needle, usually between the shoulder blades and once your dog has been chipped he can easily be identified. So if he gets lost or has an accident, you’ll be quickly informed.

3. Dog Sense

We all know that the police use dogs to help catch criminals through their powerful sense of smell, but did you know they can also be trained to sniff out cancer? Even more incredibly, some dogs are being trained to help people with diabetes by smelling fluctuations in their blood sugar levels and some dogs can predict an epileptic seizure a full 45 minutes before it begins!

4. Brains and Brawn

An American Psychological Study conducted in 2009 concluded that some dogs are as intelligent as two year old children. Border Collies are the cleverest bunch – they can understand around 200 words, whilst Dobermans, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Poodles complete the top five smartest breeds. Interestingly, the oldest breeds have the least brains. Beagles, Bulldogs and Hound dogs are amongst the least intelligent, perhaps because they were trained to hunt, whereas newer breeds were designed for sociability and companionship.

5. Not for the Squeamish
And finally, some facts that are sure to make even the strongest of stomachs turn! Dogs can carry harmful pathogens that can be fatal to humans, the most famous of which is Rabies. But today, dogs are vaccinated against this and other diseases which helps keep them and their human companions safe. In a few rare cases humans have contracted salmonella from handling contaminated dog food, but perhaps the scariest visitor that humans can contract from dogs is a parasitic roundworm known as Toxocara Canis. A study in 2003 found that humans can pick up the worm simply from stroking an infected dog. The worm grows in the intestines of dogs but they can end up behind the eye in humans and cause blindness, or infest the lungs and liver. The moral of this story – always wash your hands thoroughly after stroking a dog you don’t know!